At age 48, former boxing champ Shannon Briggs interested in bare-knuckle fighting and WWE

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MIAMI — Former pro boxing champion Shannon Briggs, 48, is a longtime South Florida resident, who sill trains.

He has aspirations in continuing his boxing legacy, competing in growing bare-knuckle fighting and even doing something with World Wrestling Entertainment.

In my interview with Briggs, he discussed boxing, bare-knuckle fighting, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Mike Tyson, Tyson Fury, WWE, The Rock, Rocky Johnson, Tony Atlas, “Bad Boys 2” with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, South Florida and more.

A two-time heavyweight boxing champ, Briggs grew up in a tough, rough area, the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Mike Tyson, an inspiration to Briggs, and Riddick Bowe also are from Brownsville. Briggs’s step-father was jailed and his mom battled substance abuse issues; so Briggs was left to fend for himself, basically homeless as a teenager.

At age 17, boxing changed, saved Briggs life. He trained at Jimmy O’Pharrow’s Starrett City Boxing Club in Brooklyn.

Briggs experienced the roller coaster ride of life, from his tough youth to his boxing success to being banned from the sport and making a successful comeback.

At age 48, he continues to train in boxing in (South Florida) Hollywood with coach Jessie Robinson. Briggs has much respect for the sport and current heavyweight champ Tyson Fury, who he speaks to periodically.

An entrepreneur, family man, actor and boxer, Briggs is also interested in bare-knuckle fighting. As a former street fighter, he has interest in competing for BKFC.

Briggs went through ups and downs throughout his life. He overcame any personnel struggles.

Before it was closed, the famous 5th Street Gym in Miami, where Muhammad Ali trained is a place where Briggs worked out.

Briggs, who is 60-6-1 ( with 53 knockouts and 1 no contest), fought George Foreman, Ray Mercer and Lennox Lewis.

A WWE fan, Briggs would love to work for that top sports entertainment company (like Mike Tyson and Tyson Fury did). Briggs enjoyed Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund, Andre the Giant and his favorite Mr. USA Tony Atlas.

As a top amateur boxer in Golden Gloves, Briggs became friends with WWE Hall of Famer, the late, great Rocky Johnson, also a former Golden Gloves boxer and South Florida resident. And thus he met The Rock Dwayne Johnson.

Rocky Johnson and Tony Atlas were the first African American tag team champions in WWE.

Briggs was in the movie Bad Boys II, filmed in Miami. He is friends with Martin Lawrence and Will Smith.

Briggs also had a part in the movie “Transporter 2.”

Briggs has resided in South Florida for 20 years in Pembroke Pines with his wife, Alana, and their three children.


Shannon Briggs was born Dec. 4, 1971, in Brooklyn, New York. He is from Brownsville, a part of Brooklyn, which was one of the toughest and most crime infested neighborhoods in the United States during his childhood.

The area has produced multiple world champions including Hall of Famer Mike Tyson and Riddick Bowe. The early part of Briggs’ life was extremely difficult as he was diagnosed with asthma as a young child and survived homelessness as a youth during the 1980’s crack epidemic.

Briggs began amateur boxing at age 17, training at the Starrett City Boxing Club in Brooklyn. He immediately excelled at boxing winning various titles including the highly-touted New York City Golden Gloves heavyweight championship. This title for many in boxing circles is the measure of standard for amateur titles. He also became the 1992 United States Amateur champion.

Briggs professional career started strong, winning 29 of his first 30 fights (24 by knockout). He would then take on the lineal heavyweight champion of the world legendary George Foreman in 1997. Briggs entered the fight a heavy underdog but upset Foreman by decision.

Nearly a decade later, Briggs would look to beat the odds again and win the heavyweight championship of the world. Many by this point had written Briggs off but not his manager and good friend, Florida businessman Scott Hirsch. He believed very much in Briggs during that heavyweight title pursuit and still does.

Briggs received his long awaited chance versus champion Sergei Liakhovich in 2006. Briggs trailed on all three official scorecards entering the 12th and final round. This set the stage for what some feel was the most dramatic ending in recent heavyweight championship history. Briggs knocked out Liakhovich, through the ropes, winning the title with one second left in the round.

In his 68 professional fights, Briggs (60-6-1 with 53 knockouts and 1 no contest) has fought a Who´s Who of boxing including a rare feat. He fought three World Heavyweight Champions who were also Olympic Gold Medalists in Foreman, Lennox Lewis and Ray Mercer, defeating two of the three (Foreman and Mercer).

Jessie Robinson, longtime trainer of Briggs, said: “Shannon started fighting in the streets, conquered amateur and professional boxing and won by first round Knockout in Japan in his kickboxing debut. Bare knuckles is the next big thing and look for more first rounds knockouts from those big fists, and you’ll see the BKFC Championship belt around Shannon’s waste within a year. He’s more relaxed, more dedicated and more dangerous than ever.”


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